Smooth sailing for Bremerton's Nathan Adrian in 100 free
OMAHA, Neb. — On a night of a major upset, Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian performed predictably at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials on Friday.
A heavy favorite in the 100 freestyle, the 23-year-old Bremerton High graduate and current swimmer at the University of California led at the flip and never let up on the return lap, winning easily in 48.10, the fourth-fastest time in the world this year.
“The first 15 meters I said to myself, ‘I think can do this, I might have put myself in a good spot,’ ” Adrian said.
The real battle was for the second individual spot. Cullen Jones went out strong, as always, and managed to hold on in an outside lane to touch in 48.46, giving the first African-American ever to win an Olympic swimming gold a chance to add to his collection in London.
Matt Grevers was next (48.55), followed by Ricky Berens (48.80), which assures them of spots in the pool for the 400 free relay.
Nothing went as expected in the men’s breaststroke. Scott Weltz won the 200 meters, leaving favorites Brendan Hansen and Eric Shanteau with only one individual event at the London Games.
The men’s 200 was just as shocking as the women’s 100 breaststroke, which was won by Breeja Larson over Rebecca Soni and Jessica Hardy. At least Soni got second place, still good enough for a do-over in the Olympics.
Neither Hansen nor Shanteau were as fortunate.
Weltz, 25, moved up on the third lap and surged to the finish to win in 2 minutes, 9.01 seconds. Burckle was next in 2:09.97, edging Shanteau with the touch.
“When I turned at the wall, I saw I wasn’t a body length and a half behind, I was like, ‘I’ve only got to make up a maybe a half-body length. I can do this,’ ” Weltz said. “From then on, it was like a freight train going forward.”
Clark Burckle claimed the second spot on the Olympic team, another big surprise. Shanteau finished third and Hansen faded to fourth, which means they’ll have to settle for only swimming the 100 breast in London after going 1-2 in that event at the trials.
In the night’s other final, Cammile Adams pulled away to win the 200 butterfly in 2:06.52. Kathleen Hersey claimed the second Olympic berth (2:07.72).
Having already missed out in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, Natalie Coughlin is down to her final realistic chance in the 100 freestyle. She barely got out of the semifinals, finishing sixth in her heat but seventh overall to qualify for tonight’s final. Amanda Weir was the fastest qualifier in 54.14
Ryan Lochte cruised through the semis of the 200 backstroke with the fastest time at 1:55.73. Tyler Clary was next (1:55.88) in what looks like a two-man race. Only one other qualifier for the final was within 3 seconds of the leaders.
Lochte returned less than an hour later for the semifinals of the 200 freestyle, which was Michael Phelps’ only event of the night. Racing side-by-side again, Lochte was top qualifier again with the fastest time in the world this year (1:55.51), while Phelps was about a body length behind (1:56.66).